Pacioretty suspended three games

Let the anguished howls begin.
This is three games more than Zdeno Chara got for his hit on Pacioretty.
It’s also three games more than Ryan Malone’s hit on Chris Campoli.
And three games more than Milan Lucic got for knocking Ryan Miller out of action.

Gentlemen (and ladies): Start your conspiracy theories.

The league has ruled Pacioretty commited an illegal hit to the head “in which the head was targeted as the principal point of contact.”

Unless he appeals the decision, Max-Pac will miss the Canadiens’ games in AnaheimWednesday, San Jose on Thursday and Los Angeles on Saturday. He will forfeit $ 26,351.34 in salary.

Here’s Brandan Shanhan’s explanation, with video.

“When cutting across the middle on a play like this, all players accept that a full body check may be looming,” Shanahan says. “However, what no player should expect is that his head will become the principal point of contact on a hit.”

Shanahan said the positioning of Kris Letang’s head on the play did not effect the itent of Max Pacioretty’s check.

The onus “was on Pacioretty to make sure he didn’t make Letang’s head the principal point of contact.”

While Pacioretty asserted, in his Monday morning phone conversation with Shanhan, that Letang’s leaninging into his shot changed the angle of the hit, Shanahan ruled “it is still his reponsibility to make principal contact through the core of Letang’s body.”

Instead, the NHL disciplinarian ruled, Pacioretty shifted his weight to his right leg, making Letang’s head the principal point of contact.

In levying a three-game suspension, Shanahan acknowledged Pacioretty has “no history of supplementary discipline”.

Well, until now.

And just for comparison, here’s another three-game suspension – for André Deveaux’s hit on Thomas Fleishmann.


  1. BMO HAB says:

    I must admit I was shocked by the hit while I was watching the game. I immediately knew this was going to be trouble for Patches. I figured he was going to get hit right away with a charging penalty….but, funny thing….no penalty called on the play. The refs who are”supposed” to be watching the puck, never got together for a discussion on this matter to review it…..sorta the 3 blind mice project. But nobody ie. Shanny, the league office etc. has explained why Letang didn’t have to go to the quiet room for the full 15 minutes. He should not have been allowed to play in the OT. The fact that he did…the play should have been stopped and the Pens to be penalized for “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Additionally, the fact that he went to his dressing room…why wasn’t his jersey changed as per NHL rules? And why was this not enforced again with another “Unsportsmanlike Penalty”?
    And yes….why isn’t our Team Management speaking up about this whole Dog & Pony show farce of “Justice”. Oh I forgot….they did. You might have missed it…It was a one word statement from JM on Saturday night: “Disappointing” … one is quite sure what he is attributing that too however: the winning goal, the fact the whistle was blown even though the puck had been covered for 5 sec. and that the referee acknowledged he had lost site of it before then, the success of the PP, Gomez’s scoring spree( 8 Goals in 1994 Road Hockey loss to Baker St. Bullies – 16-11).

    Off to California……

    “I reject your reality and substitute my own”.

    – Adam Savage

  2. Coach K says:

    My understanding of the rule is that it’s called “body checking”, not “head checking”. On that note, I think our friend J.T. has it right…
    “Did player X hit player Y in the head. Yes = Suspension.”
    No interpretation. Decisive. Something this simple would make Shannahan’s job easier and would help to restore some credibility to the NHL.

    I’ve always drilled it into any kid I’ve ever coached that there’s no honour in hitting any player who is in no position to defend himself. To me its just an act of cowardice. Now if the NHL could get its head out of its nether region on this concept we could actually see progress.

    “Shut up and play against him” – Bob Gainey (2011 Heritage Classic)

  3. bellcentre hotdog says:

    Surprised? No.

    Angry? Yes.

    As many have said, there is no consistency on how the NHL rules on ‘dangerous plays’.

  4. HabsFan1111 says:

    Personally, I’m not surprised, but I do feel the wrong decision was made here.

    If Cole hadn’t lifted Letang’s stick, Letang would likely have braced himself and absorbed a good open ice hit. The ONLY reason this happened is because Letang did not expect Cole to lift his stick and therefore he got distracted from the hit in order to try and recontrol the puck. In other words, Letang saw Pacioretty coming and he tried to play the puck instead of brace for the hit, which is EXACTLY the reason Shanny decided NOT to suspend Malone.

    Disappointing to say the least, but life goes on, Letang’s fine and that’s what is important.

  5. RetroMikey says:

    We should be called the Montreal Drama Queens instead of the Montreal Canadiens.
    Come on people! What difference does it matter?
    We lose MaxPac to 3 games!
    Move forward and not backwards!
    This team has more problems with the fragile Markov being out or Pacioretty being suspended.
    Focus on ohter players like Plekanec, Pacioretty, Gomez, Gorges, and others who are nothing more than average players in this league who can’t step it up for us!
    Gonna be a tough battle to gain that 8th place finish for the playoffs to make the Habs’ fans happy.
    Chancesare very slim for this team even before the season began.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • emann_222 says:

      I agree with you on the players you mention – completely. There are many more things to worry about than the suspension of Pacioretty. But taken as a single incident, it doesn’t seem like the league is getting things right on a consistent level.

      I think this is more of an NHL issue than a Habs issue (as you rightly point out) but it is still worth discussing, no? As long as the discussion is kept reasonable, and we all know that might be a tough thing to ask =)

      Visit me at and

  6. dhenry1234 says:

    aha wow is all I can say. I called it. It made sense that Chara and lucic didn’t get suspended but max did in some kind of Conspiracy theory kind of way. Anyone who understands how retarded and unfair Shannyfag is could see this coming.

  7. duffy says:

    What makes this guy Shanahan such an authority on head shots .Was it because he was one of the dirtiest players in the game.

  8. DorvalTony says:

    “The fish is rotten from the head.” Newfie saying.

    Break a nose get 3 games. Break a neck get 0 games. NHL = Nonsense Hockey League.

  9. portle44 says:

    Shanahan and his ….ahem associates…. are regular hanging judges unless the perp is a member of the Bruins or the Pens ( Hello Matt Cook) in which case the John Howard Society is too extreme for them.The NHL continues its descent to WWF status

  10. Cam_1 says:

    How come when a Bruin commits a crime shanny doesn’t punish but says oh I made a mistake but will get it right next time. But when a Hab commits a crime he gets it right, right from the get go. Yes MaxPac deserves to be punished and yes it is better for the long term status of the game. I see the point tho, whether others got punished or not should not be the issue. The issue is to get closer to getting it right from this point on, and from any point on after learning from past mistakes. yes the ultimate goal is to create a head shot free safe NHL. It just sucks that other teams have gotten a pass from a admitted mistake, and some teams benefited more than once because of shanny’s/daddy campbell’s mistakes, it just makes you wonder if something else is going on other than caring about the long term state of the game.

    • JERM says:

      Explain to me how it is better for the long term status of the game? Everyone is dillusional if they think that the NHL and Shanahan will get it right from this point forward. Just like they have been getting it right since the Chara hit on Patches last season. Just like they got it right with Crosby’s elbow on Foligno, which by the way did not even warrant a review by Shanahan.

      There is enough evidence over the years to demonstrate that the NHL is not consistent in handing out discipline and they have no intention of doing so. It is a tiered justice system where a player’s status and the influence of the team owner within league circles will dictate the amount of punishment or lack therefore that is handed out.

      Trust me this is the reality and we as fans have two choices, 1. Accept and keep cheering for our teams, or 2. Stop watching

  11. dano58 says:

    Campbell jr. is a UFA so spend 1.1 mil and bring him on board. Maybe this stuff will stop.

  12. VintageFan says:

    I’m astonished by the surprise! Anyone who was not expecting this has not been paying attention during the Buttman era. Pittsburgh and Boston receive treatment equal to the other teams, just a little more equal. Pittsburgh has been a “favored child” for many years. Boston has been a “favored child” since their ownership got Gary a huge new contract. Canadian teams are all treated like the addled old aunt who takes whatever crumbs of attention are being handed out. Its just One Big Happy (pro-American) family.

  13. Lark says:

    The first problem is that Shanahan is not qualified to make judgements about intent to injure (Max admits he was trying to stop Latang from scoring a goal). How does Shanahan “know” that Max intended to injure him? Is he a mind reader?
    The second problem is with the pseudo science involved in determining whether Max had time to avoid contact with Latang’s head. Is Shanahan an expert on split second decision making? Or an expert on whether a movement is deliberate or a reflex?

    The result is that all of the recent suspension decisions come off as arbitrary or biased. It seems the only solution is to suspend a player for any head contact.

  14. ogilthorpe says:

    Although the apple does look kinda rotten too

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